“We have such a big land we can accommodate everybody.” This was stated by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, who has also called on countries to take stock of the devastating impact of climate change.
Minister Jordan said the destruction wrought in the Bahamas, “is telling us something.” As such, countries prone to such intense tropical cyclones, need to heed the warning.
According to the Finance Minister, hurricanes at 155 miles per hour are considered a category 5. Hurricane Dorian, however, was moving at 185 with winds in excess 200 mph.
“The scale has been broken. If it were a new scale, this would have been a category 8. It is becoming more intense, and we have to take heed,” he noted.
He added that those areas, in many ways, may have to be abandoned, noting that there is enough space in Guyana for those battered by the tropical storm.
“Guyana will welcome everybody with open arms. We have such a big land so we can accommodate everybody. We have a couple of small islands in the Essequibo, so we will want to do something about it,” he said at a forum on Friday.
While Guyana’s arms are opened to welcome victims, the government, through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), has also been ramping up support for Bahamians, coordinating programmes to provide relief to the victims of the now post-tropical cyclone.
Guyana has always been supportive and receptive of victims of tropical storms. When hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged several Caribbean countries back in 2017, many Guyanese living in those parts returned home and were reintegrated. Among those countries were Dominica, Barbuda – the sister island of Antigua, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Anguilla.
Meanwhile, Minister Jordan said Guyana is fortunate as it is not in the hurricane, volcano nor earthquake belt.
“What we saw in terms of the destruction [left by Hurricane Dorian], and the height of the water is not only frightening for those who are experiencing it, but is frightening to imagine.”
On September 1, the eye of Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Abaco Islands with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (295 km/h), making it the strongest hurricane on record to affect the northwestern Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian killed at least 43 people in The Bahamas – 35 on Abaco and eight on Grand Bahamas.
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